I Want to See
This dramatized film essay explores the power of cinema as a historical witness. The camera casually follows a visit by French actress Catherine Deneuve to a film festival in Beirut in the summer of 2006. She asks for permission to visit war-torn areas in southern Lebanon, and she is driven and accompanied there by the artist Rabih Mroue. Although they are clearly not welcome wherever they go, particularly because of the camera, their journey reveals scenes of a sort that rarely reach news reports, but that characterize the lives of the local people – such as when they take a wrong turn onto a road where landmines have been laid. All along the roadside hang portraits of martyrs whose actions seem suddenly comprehensible against the backdrop of such all-pervasive devastation. And even the footage of bombed-out buildings that we are accustomed to seeing on the news takes on a different meaning now that it’s part of personal and dramatic situations. Deneuve is obviously ill at ease, illustrating the difficult relationship between the camera – the outsider wanting to see, but able to leave – and the tragedy being acted out in front of it.
Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige
Georges Schoucair for Abbout Productions, Edouard Mauriat for Mille et Une Productions, Anne-Cécile Berthomeau, Farès Ladjimi, Tony Arnoux